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Cascara

         
Posted by Jason Scheltus on May 16, 2012
Filed under Spotlight on ...




We've been tasting samples of this Cascara from Bolivia since May last year, and we're excited to finally offer this freshly produced, new Cascara. It's been quite a journey to bring it to our shops, we're really happy with the way it's tasting, both at Market Lane, and around Melbourne.

Cascara, meaning 'skin' or 'peel' in Spanish, is a novel way of recycling left over coffee pulp, which is produced in huge quantities when ripe coffee cherries are pulped before the beans are washed and dried. In most producing countries this pulp is traditionally broken down and used as fertiliser - but it is also possible to dry this left over cherry to create the base for a unique and refreshing tea.

Although few have heard of it, cascara has a very long and interesting history. Coffee farmers in Yemen and Ethiopia have been drying and brewing cherry like this for centuries - possibly since before coffee seeds were first used to make a drink. In these countries the dried cherry is often steeped along with spices such as ginger, nutmeg or cinnamon to make a fragrant drink known as Hashara in Ethiopia or Qishr in Yemen.

This particular cascara is the dried cherry from various high grown organic coffees processed at the Buena Vista mill in Caranavi, in the heart of one of Bolivia's prime coffee-producing areas. All of these coffees are grown at over 1,500 metres by small producers in the Caranavi region - a lush, fertile area of steep valleys and mountains that provides habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna.

Caranavi's small, traditional family farms average around 5 hectares each, and are often planted out with citrus trees as well as coffee. Most farms use no chemical fertilisers or pesticides and this cascara was produced using cherry from certified organic producers.

The result is a rare and delicious tea, which reveals yet another taste dimension to the coffee cherry. We enjoyed this lot's tart acidity, gentle mouthfeel, and apple and elderflower notes - an excellent palate cleanser!

Brewing methods:
Cascara is still a relatively new ingredient in most countries and so ripe for experimentation (excuse the pun!). We have tried brewing it various ways and we like using a French Press the best (recipe below), but you could also try using a tea pot, an Eva Solo or any other method you can dream up! If you hit on a particularly ingenious way of brewing cascara, get in touch. We'd love to hear about it...

Brew Guide:
- Use 5g of cascara per 200ml
- Brew for 2 minutes in a French press
- Stir 3 times
- Wait an additional 3 minutes
- Serve immediately

You can also check out this neat video that Square Mile Coffee made!

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